Government, through the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), has injected about P40 million into the second phase of the Tokafala programme which will be implemented in the next three years to 2020.
Tokafala is an entrepreneurial development and funding initiative born out of a partnership amongst the Botswana government, Anglo American, De Beers and Debswana. On its inception in 2014, government and Anglo American Services Limited agreed to contribute $3.9 million (P37.55 million) each. The government was expected to contribute $450,000 in the first year, $420,000 for the second year and $510,00 for the third year.
For the past three years, De Beers, Debswana and Anglo American delivered on their part with De Beers and Anglo American contributing U$ 1million each and Debswana contributing U$ 2million.
However, speaking during the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing amongst the four parties in Gaborone yesterday, the ministry’s permanent secretary Peggy Serame said the government had failed to meet its end of the agreement due to financial constraints.
“Government has been unable to contribute to the programme for the past three years, but at least now financial provision has been made in the National Development Plan (NDP11) to continue the implementation of this programme,” she said.
According to Serame, the scope of this programme will increase and deliver enterprise development support across the breath of the country adding that the basis of the collaboration was economic diversification strategy whose main objective was to develop globally competitive and sustainable enterprises.
In its first two years of Tokafala operation, there has been an average revenue growth of 39%, which amounts to P49 million amongst participant businesses with this figure rising to 260% when looking at micro-sized businesses.
Initially the programme targeted 600 micro enterprises, 445 small enterprises
These enterprises were in the retail and hospitality, information and communication, services and consultancies, as well as industrial goods and services sub sectors. More than 70% are small enterprises, 20% are micro while around 10% are medium enterprises. On his part, chairman of De Beers Botswana, Neo Moroka said it was important for them to find ways to support other economic sectors and to nurture the spirit of industry in Botswana adding that this new MoU with the ministry offers them a strong platform for helping all Batswana achieve that. “As a result of initiatives such as Tokafala we are finding new effective ways to help address economic challenges resulting from high unemployment, a lack of entrepreneurial experience and a disconnect between available jobs and skilled manpower,” he said.In addition he said that it is therefore crucial that they foster an environment which will enable them to harness the full potential within the micro, small and medium sized companies in Botswana.
Tokafala is a programme aimed at accelerating the growth of SMMEs thus supporting and building capacity of some selected enterprise development institutions. Some of the objectives include providing tailor-made business advisory services, monitoring and financial support for SMMEs, linking them to business opportunities developed from Debswana and other strategic partners’ supply chain.